Melody Maker, 14th September 1996
I've just been informed by that porridge-faced wanker, Simon Mayo, that Kula Shaker are "the next Oasis". Of course, the obvious questions don't even get asked. Dissent is useless. Oasis are so big, such a huge commercial fact, they've created their own gravitational pull that sucks everyone below 30 along with them. They're as unavoidable as Coca-Cola or bad government, they're the indie Royal Family, a deadly virus to which there is only one cure: REMEMBER THE MUSIC'S CRAP. What Oasis have done is frighten everyone into a sudden fear of dissing "The Kids". To question The Kids is to miss the point, to be snobby, up yer own arse, a killjoy, a misery; Oasis have hardened The Kids consensus into a towering monolith that everyone must work around, accept, try and understand, try and JOIN. They can't all be wrong so the problem is you, right?
Well, fuck the kids. The kids will put this album at Number One. The kids are wrong. The kids are stupid. And, most importantly, "The Kids" DON'T FUCKING EXIST; the fallacy of consensus is created to pull as many tenners as possible into the slipstream, carried along by momentum and NOTHING ELSE. And this month's high- push-product is Kula Shaker and, Christ all mucking fighty, they're the worst of the lot. There's enough woolly-minded idiocy and crass contrivance in this one record to consign the whole indie-pop scene into the abyss. But at least they're (open yer hymn books) Real Songs Played On . . . REAL Instruments. It's not even as if this could've been made at any point in the last 30 years. Kula Shaker are so scared of '96 (is it a white thing? I dunno) and want SO BADLY to be dead and reborn in 1972 it's fucking ALARMING. Crucially, retro-accusations are less important than pointing out how deadly dull the bulk of this LP is, in a way that only true scumcunt hippies can be: "K" makes you feel genuinely ill, queasy, too much cheesecake too soon. It shits itself in fear of the future (1973) and stinks of living death.
In order, then: Hendrix in hell forced to tutor a disinterred Northside ("Hey Dude"); Cream at their most hideous ("Knight Of The Town"); Zep at their folksy worst ("Temple of the Everlasting Light" - I'm not making these up); fucking barbershop raga that's beneath contempt ("Govinda"); a repellent Madchester autopsy on Steve Marriott ("Smart Dogs"); a three-song burst of acoustic beardiness ("Magic Theatre", "Into The Deep", "Sleeping Jiva"); the two worst singles of '96 ("Tattva", "Grateful When You're Dead"); what you hope is gonna be an old-skool acid track but turns out to be more of the same ("303") and a closing fade-out ("Hollow Man") so stomach- churningly repugnant you feel like strapping suicide bombs to your body and marching straight over to Jo Whiley's house.
The trouble is it isn't that easy. Turn on MTV, open the NME, turn on the radio, walk into a record shop, and you'll be told that this is the way it is, this is what being you is, that this is a good thing, that we all feel the same way. Fuck that. This isn't the way things are or the way they have to be - this is living in FEAR of being young, this is a bad thing, and we here all AIN'T happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company.
Don't be a sucker to this lame game. Time to tighten up and party.
(NEIL KULKARNI )